Gymnast Simone Biles to compete on ‘Dancing With the Stars’
Olympic champion gymnast Simone Biles will participate in the 24th season of the American reality TV show “Dancing With the Stars”, broadcaster ABC said Wednesday, joining a lineup that also includes former figure skating darling Nancy Kerrigan and 1980s star Mr T.
Starting in 2005 and modeled on the British program “Strictly Come Dancing”, the show pairs celebrities with professional dancers, and the couples perform new routines each week.
The contestants are eliminated based on judges’ scoring as well as votes from viewers.
Previous seasons of the show featured former Texas governor and U.S. energy secretary nominee Rick Perry, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, tennis legend Martina Navratilova and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Last season’s winner was Laurie Hernandez, who along with Biles was on the U.S. gymnastics team that won the all-around gold at the Rio Olympics.
Hernandez is not the only Olympic champion to have found success on “Dancing with the Stars”.
Other Olympic medalists to take home the show’s Mirrorball Trophy include figure skater Meryl Davis, gymnast Shawn Johnson and speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno.
Other winners of previous seasons include Rumer Willis, the daughter of Hollywood stars Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, and actress Jennifer Gray, the heroine of the cult film “Dirty Dancing”.
In Rio, Biles became the first American gymnast to win four golds at a single Olympics. She also took home a bronze on the balance beam.
The 4-foot-9 (1.42-meter) gymnast, who will turn 20 on March 14, has said she is planning to compete at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
On “Dancing with the Stars”, she will face off against Kerrigan, 47, a two-time Olympic medalist who is best known for being the victim of an assault carried out by the ex-husband and associates of her main rival, Tonya Harding.
Another competitor is actor Laurence Tureaud, 64, also known as Mr. T. He’s best remembered for playing boxer Clubber Lang in “Rocky III” and for his starring role on the 1980s television show “The A Team”. JB
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